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Archives for : broadway

American Idiot with Billy Joe Armstrong

When Billy Joe Armstrong and fellow Green Day band members, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool sat down to pen American Idiot, they had a rock opera in mind, drawing inspiration from shows like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and West Side Story.  Little did they imagine at that time that the sweat and tears that they put into that rock opera would be played out on a Broadway stage.

Anyone that has listened to the album, cover to cover, knows that the album is centered around Johnny and his dissatisfaction with living in suburbia.   The Broadway adaptation took the story from the album and ran with it.  Still centering on Johnny, a disillusioned youth who escapes suburbia and his parents’ rules and confinement to find the meaning of it all.  To the city he runs to find his freedom.  Originally part of a trio, one of his buddies remains at home to salvage his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend. His other friend joins the army and serves in Iraq. During his journey, Johnny finds a part of himself that he grows to loath, meets the love of his life and loses her.

American Idiot began its run at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, California, in 2009.  While there, the show became the top-grossing show in Berkeley Rep history, the producers extended the limited run twice to November 15, 2009.The following year, the show moved to Broadway, previewing at the St. James Theatre on March 24, 2010 and officially opened on April 20, 2010.

American Idiot didn’t exactly garner glowing reviews from all the critics when it first opened, but eventually received the vital shining review from The New York Times.  The Musical walked away with two Tony Awards in 2010 for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Christine Jones and Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Kevin Adams.  American Idiot also received the prestigious nomination for Best Musical.

The Broadway show struggled to make ends meet as it was rumored to $ 8 -10 million to produce.  Five months after it opened on Broadway, Billy Joe Armstrong tweeted on the official Green Day account that from September 28 to October 3, 2010 he would play the role of St. Jimmy, previously being played by Tony Vincent.  This Tweet had immediate effects as it led to an instantaneous increase in sales for American Idiot tickets at the St. James Theatre. Ticket sales for the week Armstrong performed were up 77%, gross sales increased 127% from the previous week’s totals, and average ticket prices increased 22%,. A couple weeks ago, the producers announced that Armstrong would make another 50 appearances as St. Jimmy between January 1 and February 27, 2011.

Broadway Hits Big During Holidays

‘Tis the season!

Not surprisingly, Broadway (in New York City) is HUGE during the holiday season.  There are thirty six productions on Broadway during the holidays and gross ticket sales increased by more than $1 million to $20,911,150 for the week ending November 7.  This is up from a very impressive $19,695,420 the week prior.

In a comparison from last year at this point to this season, total sales are up to $461,755,883, or 0.4 percent ahead.  “Wicked” at the Gershwin ranked number one in show sales with more than a million or more in ticket sales. *

Wicked is an amazing show.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you really must.  It is the tale of Elphaba  (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the West) in Oz before Dorothy came to town.  The show is loosely based on the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire (which is a TRULY incredible book.  Go pick it up if you haven’t read it yet).  The show follows Elphaba (firstly explaining her green skin!) and her relationship with Glinda through school, shared loved interests and later on Elphaba’s public and political fall from grace.  This is an exceptionally smart and well thought out musical.  After seeing this show, you will never think of The Wizard of Oz in the same light again.

The costumes, make-up and staging are absolutely gorgeous.  The characters are well-defined and the songs are wonderful.  The music will stick with you for a very long time.  Wicked is seriously an experience not to miss.

Wicked recently celebrated its 7th Anniversary on October 30, 2010, and the musical is currently the 25th longest-running show in musical theater history and the 17th longest-running Broadway show.  Wowza.

The Broadway production’s success spawned productions in  Los Angeles (Pantages Theatre), Chicago (Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre), London’s West End (Apollo Victoria Theater) San Francisco (Curran Theater),  international productions in Germany, Japan and Australia, and two North American tours that have raised their curtains in over thirty cities in Canada and the United States.

The tour will finally come to Las Vegas from August 29 through October 7, 2012 which will surely draw enormous crowds.

Notable cast members have included Kristin Chenoweth (Tony Award winner) as Glinda,  Idina Menzel (recently on Glee as Lea Michelle’s estranged mother) as Elphaba,  Ana Gasteyer  as Elphaba (Saturday Night Light), and Rue McClanahan as the evil school headmistress (Golden Girls).

* cited from